Investigation launched into missing rare vinyl belonging to man assaulted in New Cross

'Awakening', released 1982 by Hiroshi Sato (left), Christopher Mapleston (right)

‘Awakening’, released 1982 by Hiroshi Sato (left), Christopher Mapleston (right)

A rare limited edition vinyl record, which was stolen from a man attacked in New Cross last month is at the centre of police investigation into the incident.

The Metropolitan Police have issued an appeal to locate the missing record, believing that the attack on Christopher Mapleston, 29, may have been prompted by the record he was carrying.

Mapleston, a KPMG worker, was found on Arbuthnot Road in New Cross at 3am on November 20. Mapleston was left in critical condition after the attack and was immediately rushed to the hospital. His injuries included a severe cut to his head, and he was later discovered to have a fractured skull. He is now in a stable condition, though he remains unresponsive.

He had been carrying a rare  12” record by Japanese musician Hiroshi Sato, ‘Awakening’, an electronic/ funk record released in 1982. There is only one original 1982 pressing of the record being sold on Discogs for £126. Mapleston briefly possessed one of the 2016 re-issues, which are being sold at a starting price of £37.

Now friends of Mapleston, an avid music fan and vinyl record collector, have started an online collective, mainly through Facebook, to help locate another copy of the sought-after record.

“It’s just a Facebook thing of friends trying to locate the record for him,” Sam Grainge, a friend of Mapleston’s since being at the University of Nottingham, told EastLondonLines.

Grainge was with Mapleston at Peckham record store Rye Wax earlier that evening, where he purchased the LP. He then went out for drinks with his friends around the area and was last seen carrying the vinyl record and chasing the N343 bus near Peckham Rye station between 1:30am and 2am.

Grainge said: “We met at the record shop in Peckham, and he had this record under his arm,” Grainge said. “He was telling us how it was the most expensive record he’d ever bought, maybe between 40 and 60 quid. It’s a re-release, though, and the original is going for about 100 plus. I don’t like vinyl, but he’s obsessed. Then after that he got on a bus, said goodbye, and that was it.”

It is unknown what happened to Mapleston between the time he was seen near the station and the time he was found lying on the street at 3am with an injury to the head, less than 2 miles away.

Grainge explained how characteristic the missing record is of Mapleston.

“It’s just a window into him,” Grainge said. “He’s a huge music fan. He loves collecting all the vinyl, all the obscure ones. He loves some disco, some techno, though he’s really into all genres of music. I remember he used to get vinyls through the post every single day. He used to be more into thrashy, American garage-rock though, bands like Pavement. But that was years ago. He likes all music, really. All interesting, and human, and real.”

Grainge said: “He’s particularly obsessed with Japanese culture, as he’s lived there and was working for a charity in Fukushima after the tsunami.”

'Awakening' (1982) by Hiroshi Sato featuring Wendy Williams

‘Awakening’ (1982) by Hiroshi Sato featuring Wendy Matthews

“He’d be so, so gutted that he lost his record. It’s really spooky, as it’s called ‘Awakening’. I remembered the title when he showed it to me. He’s been asleep, in hospital. He’s still not communicating, but he’s getting more stable. He’s opening his eyes, but not necessarily responding yet. It’ll take a while for him to respond properly,” he added.

The news of Mapleston’s assault took his friends and family by surprise. The attempt to piece together the night’s events, and Mapleston’s whereabouts, prompted Grainge to search for the record he knew was important to his friend.

“We didn’t know it was missing, but I knew he had it on him,” said Grainge. “I basically just predicted that it wouldn’t have been on him when he was found. In the first few days of learning what happened, we’d assumed the record was gone.”

Detective Constable Terry Martin, from Lewisham CID, said: “We cannot be certain whether Christopher’s injury was the result of a fall or an attack. One line of enquiry is that he may have been the victim of a robbery as he was found without his iPhone 6.

“Having spoken to his friends we now know that Christopher was also in possession of a limited edition record which has yet to be located. I am appealing to anyone who may have found it or has been offered the item for sale to get in contact with us immediately.

“I would also like to speak to anyone who saw Christopher between the railway station and Arbuthnot Road. He was wearing a distinctive green camouflage jacket.

“Have you found a mobile phone in this area of New Cross? Any piece of information, however small, will help us to discover what happened in the early hours of that morning.”

Officers are keen to hear from anyone who saw Christopher that night. If it assists, he is described as white, approximately 5ft 7ins and of slim build with brown hair. He was wearing a green camouflage jacket, black trousers and trainers.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Constable Martin on 07393 006 967, or officers at Lewisham via 101. To give information anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit their website.

Follow Cady Siregar on Twitter.

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